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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

TIP OF THE DAY: Cook With Fresh Blueberries

August is National Blueberry Month. The harvest is full, the prices are at the year’s low, and any food lover should relish the opportunity to eat lots of them.

And cook with them. Beyond the all-American blueberry pie, you can make:

  • Baked treats: cheesecakes, cobblers, crumbles, fruit tarts, muffins, scone
  • Beverages: cocktails, lemonade, smoothies
  • Breakfasts: in cereal, muffins, pancakes, omelets, scones, yogurt and waffles
  • Frozen desserts: ice cream and sorbet
  • Salads: fruit salads and green salads
  • Soup: in chilled fruit soup, all blueberries or mixed berries
  •  
    We’ll focus on some of those tomorrow. Today, we’re starting with dessert; specifically, blueberry ice cream and blueberry pound cake. Both are easy to make, and won’t keep you in the kitchen for too long.

       

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    Blueberry ice cream. Photo and recipe courtesy Driscoll’s berries.

     
    HOW TO BUY FRESH BLUEBERRIES

    Fresh blueberries should be firm and dry (no leakage or juice stains on the bottom of the container), with a smooth skin covered with a silvery white bloom. The color should be deep purple-blue to blue-black. Reddish blueberries aren’t ripe and won’t ripen once they are picked, but you can use them when cooking with added sugar.

    Refrigerate fresh blueberries, either in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or container. Before using, wash the berries, removing any stems, leaves and smashed fruit, plus berries that look soft, shriveled or dots of white mold.
     
    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM

    Ingredients For 1 Quart

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the blueberries, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Mash the softened blueberries and stir with a fork. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

    2. PURÉE the berry mixture and milk in a blender or food processor. When smooth, stir in the cream. Press the purée through a sieve into a bowl. Press on the solids with back of a spoon to extract the remaining juices.

    3. COVER and chill the mixture at least 2 hours, or until cold. You can make the recipe up to this step, up to 1 day in advance.

    4. PROCESS the cold mixture in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer it to an airtight container and place in the freezer to harden.

     

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    Fresh blueberry pound cake with blueberry sauce. You’ll notice how much firmer and tastier fresh berries are, compared to baking with frozen berries. Photo courtesy QVC.

     

    RECIPE: BLUEBERRY POUND CAKE

    This easy recipe is from QVC’s chef David Venable. David tip: “Be sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature before beginning. And, only use fresh blueberries in the sauce; it will have a better consistency.”

    The recipe is easy because David uses a pound cake mix. We made our own pound cake recipe from scratch, adding just the cup of blueberries and the sour cream from the cake ingredients below.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

    Ingredients For The Cake

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 box pound cake mix or your own pound cake recipe
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1/8 cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Zest of a half lemon (zest the whole lemon; the rest goes into
    the sauce)
  •  
    Ingredients For The Blueberry Sauce

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of half a lemon
  •  
    Garnish

  • Optional: whipped cream or vanilla or blueberry ice cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Set aside.

    2. PREPARE the cake: Toss the blueberries with flour in a bowl. Set aside.

    3. PLACE the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and process for 3 more minutes. Stir in the flour-coated blueberries with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45–55 minutes.

    4. MAKE the sauce: Place all the ingredients into a food processor and process for 4–6 minutes. Drizzle the sauce on top of the sliced pound cake. Top with whipped cream and serve; or make it a la mode with a scoop of ice cream.

      

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    UPDATES: New Flavors From Product Favorites

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    A nutritious, easy breakfast is just a crunch away. Photo courtesy belVita.

     

    If we reported on all the updates to products we’ve previously reviewed, we’d need another full-time staff. Each year flavors come, flavors go; and on an all-too-regular basis, packaging changes.

    While we can’t keep on top of it all, here are recent updates to some of our favorite products.

    ANGRY ORCHARD CIDER’S SUMMER HONEY

    There are seasonal ciders, just as there are seasonal beers. Angry Orchard’s Summer Honey is a perfect poolside drink—or it would be, if we had a pool. Instead, we’re enjoying it in the great air-conditioned indoors.

    Here’s our original review of Angry Orchard Cider. The company website is AngryOrchard.com.
     
    APPLEGATE NATURAL UNCURED BEEF HOT DOGS
    NOW GRASS FED

    Ever since we published our review of the best organic hot dogs, Applegate has become our brand of choice.

     
    Applegate has always used meat from animals that are humanely raised and antibiotic free. Made with only beef, water, sea salt and spices, the dogs are also lower in fat, with less salt than other brands.

    Now, the beef is 100% grass fed, something of interest to healthier eaters. Compared with other types of beef, grass-fed beef typically has:

  • Less total fat.
  • More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.
  • More conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks.
  •  
    Learn more at Applegate.com.

    BELVITA BREAKFAST BISCUITS IN CRANBERRY ORANGE

    Since their launch by Nabisco in 2012, belVita has been a favorite breakfast and snack item at our office and a Top Pick Of The Week. We prefer the original crunchy biscuits to the subsequent Soft Baked and Biscuit Bites variations.

    Recently, Cranberry Orange was added to belVita’s crunchy flavors. Along with Blueberry and Chocolate, it’s a favorite. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU. Discover more at BelvitaBreakfast.com.
     
    HALFPOPS

    Halfpops, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, has added two new flavors to originals Butter & Sea Salt and Aged White Cheddar.

    The newcomers, Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque, are equally delicious. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU, and certified gluten free. Find the retailer nearest you at Halfpops.com.

     

    NONNI’S THIN ADDICTIVES, NOW IN MANGO

    Nonni’s Thin Addictives, a lower-calorie alternative to biscotti, has released Mango Coconut Almond Thins.

    It joins Banana Dark Chocolate, Blueberry Oat Almond, Cinnamon Raisin, Cranberry Almond and Pistachio as a crunchy side to coffee and tea.

    The line is certified kosher (parve) by MK, a Montreal certifier (the product is made in Canada). Discover more at Nonnis.com.
     

    PRETZEL CRISPS, GLUTEN-FREE

    Flat, crunchy Pretzel Crisps are another favorite snack. We used the Dark Chocolate & Peppermint and White Chocolate & Peppermint flavors as stocking stuffers last December, and extolled the Sriracha & Lime flavor more recently.

    Now, there are four gluten-free varieties that taste just as good as the conventional versions: Gluten Free Original Minis, Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Flavored Crunch Minis, Gluten Free Salted Caramel Minis and Gluten Free Vanilla Yogurt Flavored Crunch Minis.

    From Deli Style to Minis to Modern Classics to Everyday Indulgents and Holiday Indulgents, there are quite a selection of Pretzel Crisps. See the whole line at PretzelCrisps.com. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU.

     

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    Chipotle Barbeque joins Caramel & Sea Salt in the Halfpops line. Photo courtesy Halfpops.

     
    QUAKER OATS’ 3-MINUTE STEEL CUT OATS

    Quaker has introduced new Quick 3-Minute Steel Cut Oats, which delivers the same hearty texture and nutty taste that has made steel cut oats our favorite—but with a far more convenient cook time.

    Available in plain oats in canisters, and flavored individual pouches: 3-Minute Blueberries & Cranberries and Cinnamon and Sugar. Discover more at QuakerOats.com.
     
    SAMUEL ADAMS SUMMER BEERS

    Some people like a lighter brew for the hot weather, and Samuel Adams offers a good selection. Two new lighter brews for summer refreshment include Downtime Pilsner, a “laid-back” golden pilsner, and Rebel Rider IPA, a hoppy West Coast-style IPA with a lighter body. These new brews are joined by traditional summer favorites, Boston Lager, Porch Rocker and Summer Ale.

    Also new, from the Small Batch Collection, is Honey Queen, a blend of mead and beer. Dating back to the 12th century, this combination is known as a braggot—a new word for our Beer Glossary. It’s brewed with three different honeys, complex hops and chamomile for a tart sweetness with a lovely honey finish.

    Learn more at SamuelAdams.com.

      

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    RECIPE: White Chocolate Ice Box Pie

    Yesterday, we explored the history and glories of icebox cake. Today we present the icebox pie

    Unlike yesterday’s recipe, this one does require a bit of baking—just 10 to 15 minutes in the oven. You make the filling while the crust bakes. Then, into the fridge it goes to chill and set the filling.

    This recipe has a white chocolate and cream cheese filling swirled with fresh raspberries with a buttery crust made from vanilla wafers. vanilla wafer crust. It’s cool and creamy and sweet and refreshing. Just the thing to satisfy your summertime sweet tooth!

    This Raspberry White Chocolate Icebox Pie was developed by Jennifer McHenry of Bake Or Break, and sent to us by GoBoldWithButter.com.

    Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time (for the crust) is 15 minutes.

    RECIPE: WHITE CHOCOLATE ICE BOX PIE

    Ingredients For A 9-Inch Pie

  • 7 ounces vanilla wafers, finely crushed
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 ounces white chocolate (we use Lindt bars or
    Guittard chips, the best chips on the market)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces raspberries, rinsed and dried
  •    

    white-chocolate-icebox-pie-goboldwbutter-long-230

    White chocolate with raspberries icebox pie. Photo courtesy Bake Or Break | Go Bold With Butter.

     

    white-chocolate-bar-230

    Our favorite affordable white chocolate is Lindt, widely available in the U.S., MSRP $3.99 for a 4.4-ounce bar. For pricier gourmet brands, here’s our article on the best white chocolate bars.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 9-inch tart or pie pan.

    2. COMBINE the crushed vanilla wafers and butter until thoroughly mixed. Press mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and dry. Set the crust aside to cool.

    3. PLACE the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at half-power in the microwave in 30-second increments, until the chocolate melts when stirred. Set aside to cool.

    4. BEAT the cooled chocolate, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

    5. PLACE the heavy cream in a large, chilled mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture. Transfer the mixture to the cooled pie crust and spread evenly.

     

    6. PLACE the raspberries in a blender or food processor and process until puréed. Use a small spoon to drop the raspberries over the top of the pie filling. Use a thin knife to swirl the raspberries into the filling.

    7. REFRIGERATE the pie for at least 2 hours before serving.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Polka Dot Pie & The Pie-Tart Difference

    A few days ago we featured the lattice pie crust, a beautiful top crust for fruit pies (and optionally, to decorate tarts, which typically don’t have top crusts). Some home bakers may be wary, not knowing if they have the patience to evenly cut and weave the strips of dough (fear not—it’s really easy).

    But You don’t need much extra time or skill to turn a conventional pie crust into a polka-dot pie, an inspiration of one of our baking heroes, Audra, The Baker Chick.

    As beguiling as a homemade pie is when you bring it to the table, this peekaboo pie is even more so (and even more so when there’s a bright-colored fruit peeking through).

    How simple is it? When you make your pie recipe, simply use a small cookie cutter to cut polka dots in the top crust. (You can sprinkle the cut-out circles of dough with cinnamon sugar or grated cheese and bake them.)

    Here’s the recipe for Audra’s succulent peach pie. Take the time to peruse The Baker Chick website for many wonderful recipes.

    Do you know the difference between a pie and a tart? Many people use the terms interchangeably, but that’s incorrect. Would you call a muffin a cupcake?

    There are some similarities, but more differences. Here’s the scoop:

       

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    Showcase your fruit pie. Peach pie photo courtesy The Baker Chick.

     

     

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    A pie has a thin crust, generally un-sweetened. A tart has a thick crust, typically sweetened and almost cookie-like. The sides stand up straight, without the need of support from a baking dish. Blueberry tart photo courtesy Chilean Blueberry Committee.

     

    PIES VS. TARTS: THE DIFFERENCE

    The terms aren’t interchangeable, even if the products are equally delicious for dessert (or a savory versions—think vegetable tart and chicken pot pie—for lunch or dinner). Here, the differences between pies and tarts. First…

    Pies & Tarts: The Similarities

  • Crust & Filling. Both tarts and pies comprise a pastry crust with a filling that can be sweet or savory.
  • Multiple Or Individual Servings. Both pies and tarts are multiple serving dishes. While individual-size pies are called mini pies, an individual tart is a tartlet.
  •  
    Pies & Tarts: The Differences

  • Number Of Crusts. A pie can have a full top crust, a lattice, or be open-faced (no top crust). A tart has only a bottom crust. Flans and quiches are also tarts; and a cheesecake is a cheese-custard tart.
  •  

  • Type Of Crust. While both pie and tart crusts use the same ingredients (flour, shortening, cold water, salt and sometimes sugar), they are in different proportions for different purposes.
    > Pie crusts are thin, soft, flaky pastry that can be made with different types of shortening. Typically, vegetable shortening or lard is used. The pie is served from the pie pan.
    > Tart crusts are traditionally made with butter to achieve a buttery pastry flavor. The tart crust is firm such that the tart can stand independently when removed from the tart pan. A tart is meant to be unmolded before serving. While it can be served from the pan, the idea is to enjoy the beauty of the standing tart without the pan. This is especially true with a beautiful fluted crust.
  • Type Of Pan. The sides of a pie dish or pan are sloped and the dish can be made from a variety of material, such as ceramic, glass or metal. A tart pan is metal with straight or straight fluted side with a removable bottom. A pastry ring atop a baking sheet can also be used.
  • Size. A standard pie pan is 9 inches in diameter and 1-1/4 inches deep. Other common sizes are 9-1/2 inches and 10 inches. Tart pans range from 10 to 12 inches in diameter, with a depth from 3/4 inches to 2 inches. There are also rectangular tart pans, typically ranging from 11 inches to 15 inches in length, that make a handsome presentation.
  • Consistency Of Filling. Pie fillings can be loose (fruit pie) or firm (custard pie and pecan pie, for example). Tarts have firm fillings, based on more eggs or other binders. This is especially important since the tart is free-standing—no pie plate for the juices to run into.
  •  
    Now that you know the difference, take a look at the different types of pies in our beautiful Pie & Pastry Glossary.
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Lattice Pie Crust

    lattice-crust-blueberryjamtart-goboldwbutter-230sq

    Many people think a lattice is the prettiest
    pie crust. Photo courtesy Completely
    Delicious via Go Bold With Butter.

     

    “A home-baked fruit pie with a lattice crust is a guaranteed crowd pleaser,” says Annalise Sandberg of CompletelyDelicious.com. If you’ve always wanted to make one but haven’t yet, Annalise is here to help with a step-by-step photo tutorial.

    A lattice crust is a top crust for pies or tarts made from strips of dough woven into a criss-cross pattern.

    In addition to the eye appeal, the openings between the strips of dough allow steam to escape during baking. Some of the water in the fruit juices evaporates, which can caramelize the filling and makes for a less drippy filling. That’s why you typically find a lattice top on fruit pies.

    The lattice is made from the top crust dough of a double crust pastry recipe. The dough is cut into strips using a sharp knife or, preferably, a pastry wheel cutter which provides a beautiful crimped edge.

    If you need to buy a pastry wheel, we like this one which has both crimped and straight cutting blades. You can use the same tool to cut ravioli.

    LATTICE CRUST TIPS

  • Chill the dough before cutting.
  • If you don’t want to rely on your eye, use a ruler to make the strips even-width.
  • Some people use an egg wash to make their top crusts golden brown. We think a lattice looks nicer without the egg wash.
  • Here’s a video.
  •  
    RECIPE: LATTICE PIE CRUST

    Ingredients

  • Your favorite fruit pie recipe and a double pie crust recipe (how about a delicious peach pie recipe?)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the fruit filling of your choice. Set aside and make your favorite pie crust recipe, divided into two disks. Chill the dough.

    2. ROLL out first disk of dough, place it in the pie pan and fill it with the fruit.

    3. ROLL out second disk of dough. Use a plain or decorative pastry wheel cutter (or a very sharp knife) to slice the dough into strips approximately 1-inch wide. Use 10 strips as you first master the technique. Later you can get creative with the width of the lattice and the number of strips you use.

    4. PLACE 5 dough strips on top of pie, spaced evenly. The longest strips should be in the center.

    5. WEAVE the second group of strips under and over the first five (and if these instructions sound confusing, look at the photo at right, watch the video or this photo layout).

     

    Lattice-unbaked-230sq

    Ready, set, bake! Photo courtesy Annalise Sandberg of CompletelyDelicious.com. Here’s her recipe.

    > PULL back the second and fourth strips halfway and place another strip down center of the pie, perpendicular to first set. Lay folded strips back down.
    > FOLD the first, third, and fifth strips back and place another perpendicular dough strip on top of pie. Unfold those strips, and again fold second and fourth strips. Lay one more perpendicular strip.
    > ROTATE the pie 180 degrees and repeat on the other side until you have finished the lattice.
    > TRIM the ends of the strips so that they match up with the overhang of the bottom crust. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together to seal, fold under and crimp as desired.

    6. BAKE as directed and impress your friends and family!
     

    LATTICE TRIVIA

    Before it was adapted to a pie crust design, a lattice was a structure of crossed wooden or metal strips, often arranged to form a diagonal pattern on trellises (for vines), gazebos, summerhouses, arches and other structures.

    The word first appears in print as an English noun in the late 13th century, derived from an Old English variant of laett, from the German latte—which is not a beverage but a thin slat of wood. The root can be found in numerous old languages, including Proto-Germanic, Old Norse and Old Saxon. The verb appears in the 1530s.

    Im Middle English the word was spelled latis; in Middle French, lattis. The French spelling is the same today.

      

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    PRODUCT: Goodie Girl Cookies, Gluten Free

    Thanks to a New York City media relations consultant and mom who began baking gluten-free cookies in her home kitchen, Goodie Girl is pleasing palates from coast to coast.

    Simply put, these gluten-free cookies are addictive. Samples arrived at my door in a box irresistibly marked “Cookies.” The box was packed with Goodie Girl’s brightly colored bags in a popular array of flavors.

  • Crunchy Chaos is laden with buttery toffee, crisped rice and mini chocolate chips. Here, chaos is a good thing.
  • Mint Slims, a chocolate-draped chocolate-mint wafer, will comfort those feeling left out of Girl Scout cookie season
  • Midnight Brownie is a dark chocolate cookie packed with chunks of semisweet Belgian chocolate.
  • Oatmeal Raisin is an old-fashioned style, with just the right amount of cinnamon.
  • Quinoa Choco-Chunk deliciously unmasked my deeply buried Chips Ahoy fetish, put aside when I began a gluten-free lifestyle.
  •    

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    Your favorite cookie flavors, gluten-free. Above, Oatmeal Raisin. Photo courtesy Goodie Girl.

     
    CRUNCHY DElIGHTS

    In fact, all of the cookies sampled were unabashedly crunchy. There was no trying to play both sides of the cookie viscosity divide: They crunch, they munch and then dissolve cheerily away with a buttery aftertaste. The cookies packs a wallop of flavor and doesn’t skimp on density.

    And the cookies are just the right size, although no sooner are you finished with one that the thought occurs that it would be good to have another, and another…

     

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    Midnight Brownie, a dark cocoa cookie with Belgian chocolate chunks. Photo courtesy Goodie Girl.

     

    The bag, with its resealable top, is very conducive to sitting down with the intention of eating just a few. Watch that you don’t slip into “potato chip-mode,” continuously reaching into the bag until your chest is sprinkled with crumbs.

    But I’m not embarrassed to be covered in crumbs, that’s how good these cookies are. They are an experience every gluten-free person should have, and one that we can feel free to share with our wheat-centric friends.

    Goodie Girl cookies come in 6-ounce bags as well as in lunchbox-size one-ounce Go-Paks.

  • At $4.99 per 6-ounce pouch, they’re affordable for home and for gifting to anyone in gluten-free mode.
  • The one-ounce Go Paks-are available in Quinoa Choco-Chunk and Midnight Brownie, $9.99 for a box of 12 one-ounce bags.
  •  

    Check the store locator for a retailer near you, or purchase them online from GoodieGirlCookies.com.

    —Georgi Page

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Kenny’s Krumbs

    If only Cosmo Kramer had focused on selling the tops of crumb cake crumbs instead of muffin tops, he’d have had a hit.

    Now, everyone who has delighted in the crumbs on top of a crumbcake can revel in jumbo crumbcake crumbs from Kenny’s Krumbs.

    Kenny has transformed the streusel (the crumb topping—see section below) into crunchy, cookie-like nuggets of cinnamon goodness. They’re crumb cookies—there’s no cake involved, although you can use Kenny’s Krumbs on any cake you like.

    OUR TOP 10 WAYS TO ENJOY KENNY’S KRUMBS

  • Snacking straight from the bag.
  • For your coffee break (or with other favorite beverage—tea, milk, hot chocolate).
  • As a garnish with whipped cream on pound cake or other uniced cake.
  • To garnish an iced cake.
  • Krumb-topped cheesecake.
  • On ice cream, along or with your favorite dessert sauce.
  • As mega-crumbs on a fruit crisp, a deep-dish baked fruit dessert made with a crumb topping.
  • On a cobbler, replacing the biscuit topping (the difference between crisp, crumb, cobbler, etc.)
  • To top chocolate or custard tarts.
  • As a pie topping (see our article on crumb tops for pies).
  •    

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    Who needs cake. Here, crumb cake topping baked up as cookie-like “crumbs.” Photo courtesy Kenny’s Krumbs.

     

    Instead of butter, Kenny’s Krumbs uses margarine to create the crumbs. The other ingredients include enriched bleached flour, malted barley flour, sugar and spices.

    Kenny’s Krumbs sells them packaged in 12-ounce resealable bags. Four bags of Krumbs are $28.00, 12 bags are $72.00, plus shipping.

    You can also buy Krumbs in large metal gift buckets and smaller tins from Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cakes ($27.50 to $30.00).

    Kenny’s Krumbs and Hahn’s deliver anywhere in the continental U.S. Plan ahead: These crumb cookies are a great teacher gift or stocking stuffer.

     

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    Bring them to friends and teachers, stuff stockings, snack on. Photo courtesy Kenny’s Krumbs.

     

    CRUMB TOP = STREUSEL

    Long popular as the topping on Streuselkuchen, Germany’s crumb-topped yeast cake, streusel (pronounced SHTROY-zul) is a topping made from butter, flour and sugar. It can also contain chopped nuts or rolled oats.

    The word derives from the German “streuen,” meaning to sprinkle or scatter. The original Streuselkuchen was very flat, with crumbs equal to the height of the cake (think one inch of cake topped with one inch of crumbs).

    Note that all crumbcakes are coffee cakes, but not all coffee cakes are crumbcake. Another popular coffee cake, also a yeast cake, can be strewn with raisins and nuts and drizzled with a variation royal icing* (and we wish we had a piece right now).

    The crumb cake is believed to have originated in Silesia, which today is in western Poland (if you’ve read James Michener’s Poland, you know the borders changed regularly).

    The original recipe engendered variants with tart fruits (apples, gooseberries, sour cherries, rhubarb), poppy seeds and pastry cream.

     

    Today, Americans can enjoy their crumbcakes with with a layer of fruit (apple, apricot, raspberry), chocolate and other flavors.

    Or, those who have discovered Kenny’s can simply enjoy the crumbs!

     
    *To make coffee cake icing, mix until smooth 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons warm milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Gingersnap Whoopie Pies

    Today is National Gingersnap Day. Treat everyone to some homemade gingersnap whoopie pies.

    Crunchy gingersnaps are descendants of Lebkuchen, soft spice cookies that were probably created by Medieval monks in Franconia, Germany (the earliest written records are from 1296). The history of whoopie pies, an American creation, is much more recent—1926!

    The ginger snaps themselves are a cross between a cookie and a cake, sandwiched between an easy vanilla buttercream.

    This recipe is from The Faux Martha via Go Bold With Butter. Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 40 minutes.

    RECIPE: GINGERSNAP WHOOPIE PIES

    Ingredients For 12 Cookie Sandwiches
     
    For The Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup light molasses
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  

    gingersnap-whoopie-pies-goboldwithbutter-230

    Make them for family and friends. Photo courtesy The Faux Martha.

     

    For The Filling

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  

    pumpkin-230

    You can buy gingerbread whoopie pies from WickedWhoopies.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

    2. WHISK together the flours, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    3. CREAM the butter and sugar in a large bowl until evenly combined, using a handheld or stand mixer. Add the molasses and blend until incorporated. Scrape down the the sides of the bowl and mix in the cream, egg and vanilla.

    4. MIX the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. The dough will be dry but will still hold together. Using a one-tablespoon scoop, drop 24 cookies onto baking sheets, about an inch apart.

    5. BAKE for 10 minutes. The cookies will still be soft but will firm up after cooling. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Meanwhile…

     

    6. MAKE the filling. Using a stand or handheld mixer, whip the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add the powdered sugar and cream together until well incorporated. Add the cream and vanilla. Continue to beat until the filling light and fluffy.

    7. SPREAD a generous amount of filling on the flat side of half of the cooled cookies. Top with the remaining cookies to create sandwiches. Serve or store in airtight container for up to 3 days.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Patriotic Cookie Pizza For July 4th

    Show your colors this 4th of July with this or snack fun and festive dessert from Pillsbury. Raspberries, blueberries and creamy filling top an easy cookie crust.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, total time is 1 hour 35 minutes.

    RECIPE: JULY 4th COOKIE PIZZA

    Ingredients For 24 Servings

  • 1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup apple jelly, melted
  •  

    patriotic-cookie-pizza-pillsbury-230sq

    A cookie pizza for July 4th. Photo courtesy Pillsbury.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Spray a 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray.

    2. CUT the cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices; place in the pan. With floured fingers, press evenly over the bottom to form the crust. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown. Cool completely, about 25 minutes.

    3. BEAT the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon peel in medium bowl until fluffy. Spread over the baked crust. Arrange the raspberries in large star shape in the center. Arrange the blueberries around raspberries.

    4. DRIZZLE or brush with the melted jelly. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

      

    Comments

    JULY 4TH: Red, White & Blue Angel Food Cupcakes

    angel-food-cupcakes-RWB-goboldwbutter-230

    These angel food cupcakes are red, white and blue (with an optional touch of green). Photo courtesy Completely Delicious.

     

    Here’s a July 4th recipe based on that summer favorite, angel food cake: light and airy and just waiting to be topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

    This recipe, from Annalise of CompletelyDelicious.com via the folks at GoBoldWithButter.com, spins angel food cake into cupcakes, with a lightened whipped buttercream topping instead of whipped cream.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 45 minutes.

    RECIPE: ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES

    Ingredients For 12-18 Cupcakes
     
    For The Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup egg whites (from about 8 large eggs)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    For The Whipped Buttercream

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    Garnishes

  • Fresh berries: blueberries and raspberries
  • Optional: candied mint leaves (recipe)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

    2. SIFT together the powdered sugar and cake flour, three times. Set aside.

    3. BEAT the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium high speed until foamy, in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or with a hand-held mixer. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, with the mixer running. Beat until glossy and soft peaks form. Then stir in the vanilla.

    4. SIFT the dry ingredients over the meringue in 3 additions and gently fold in after each addition. Do not over-mix or the meringue will deflate.

    5. SPOON the mixture into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups all the way to the top. Bake until golden about 18 minutes, until the cupcake tops spring back when touched. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

     

    angel_food_cake_betty-crocker-ps-230

    Angel food cake is always baked in a tube pan, which creates the environment best for a light-rising cake. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

     
    6. MAKE the frosting in the stand mixer or with the hand-held mixer. Beat the powdered sugar and butter together until smooth. Add the wcream, salt and vanilla and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Frost the cupcakes and top with the berries.
     
    WHAT IS ANGEL FOOD CAKE

    Angel food cake is a light, flourless cake made with sugar, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla or almond extract, and a dozen or so egg whites, depending on the recipe. There is no leavening. It is typically baked in a tube pan, and popularly served with berries and whipped cream—although it is just fine plain or with a dessert sauce (caramel, chocolate, custard, fruit, etc.).

    Some historians think that the first angel food cakes were baked in the South by African-American slaves, due to the strength required to whip the air into the whites. Others theorize that the cake originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country in the early 1800s.

    October 10th is National Angel Food Cake Day. Here are recipes for a from-scratch angel food cake, and for a strawberry glaze. If you don’t want to bake from scratch, try a store-bought or cake mix.

      

    Comments

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